NASHVILLE. --The Tennessee Department of Human Services will be increasing the budgets of local social services agencies that provide heating and cooling assistance to low income families. Congress today released $121 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Tennessee’s share is $1.32 million. The emergency aid was approved in anticipation of higher heating fuel costs this season. The benefits will be made available this winter through the local LIHEAP agency.
"Heating and cooling your home isn't easy for lot of Tennesseans, especially when you may have to choose between groceries or gas or the electric bill,” said Human Services Commissioner Virginia T. Lodge. "Every little bit helps, and this assistance will go a long way toward keeping some of the state's most vulnerable individuals warm and safe.”
Nineteen community agencies administer the program across all 95 counties in Tennessee. LIHEAP is 100% federally funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Eligibility for LIHEAP benefits is based on established federal poverty guidelines, and documentation of household income is required. Tennesseans whose household income does not exceed 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines (that’s $26,500/year for a family of four) are potentially eligible for the program.
The assistance does not go directly to the client. Instead, it is made in the form of a payment to the utility company or home energy provider. If eligible, the client could receive up to two payments a year.
More than 80,000 Tennessee families are assisted each year through the LIHEAP program.
For more information about the Department of Human Services and its programs, please click on the following link: http://www.state.tn.us/humanserv
or contact Michelle Mowery Johnson at 615-313-4707.